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How this father-son duo is making healthcare affordable in Tier II and Tier III cities

Sindhu Kashyap
10th Oct 2017
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With seven super-speciality hospitals, Paras Healthcare is looking beyond urban India to provide specialist healthcare.

For over seven decades, Ved Ram Nagar worked on the principle that what you give to the universe comes back to you.

Having started Paras Dairy in 1960, Ved Ram wanted to do something that would help people, which led to the idea for a healthcare facility that was accessible and affordable. Thus, Paras Healthcare was born.

Ved Ram offered his son Dr Dharminder Nagar 2.25 acre land in Gurgaon to set up a super speciality hospital. The first Paras Healthcare hospital was started in 2006 and was followed by others in Patna, Noida and Darbhanga.

Studying medicine from Mysore Medical College, Dharminder went on to hone his administration skills with an MPhil from BITS Pilani and an executive MBA programme from Harvard.

Dr. Dharminder Nagar, Managing Director, Paras Healthcare

Setting up Paras Healthcare

“Post my medical stint in UK, my father stressed that I come back to India. I had completed my post-graduation and my specialised education in healthcare management. Like any parent, he stressed that I get out of academics and start implementing my learnings. My seed capital wasn’t much, and land for the hospital was given to me by my family,” says Dharminder.

What he was clear about from the word go was that there would be no compromise on infrastructure and the 250-bed multi-super specialty hospital in Gurgaon stands testimony to that.

The hospital boasts of state-of-the art trauma, neurology, neurosurgery, orthopaedics and cardiology facilities. Dharminder also brought in former AIIMS Neurosurgery Head of Department Dr VS Mehta to help set up the facility.

One of the biggest challenges was the lack of infrastructure in Gurgaon in terms of roads, healthcare management professionals, or even nurses. The team, however, decided to stick to locations that needed specialised healthcare services and had poor resources.

“As Gurgaon kept on growing, so did word of mouth about our affordability, accessibility and quality. Today, after 10 years, we can proudly say that we have been able to become the true partners in health for the community,” says Dharminder.

He adds Paras Healthcare aim is to offer affordable healthcare for the common man.

When Paras Healthcare first started, the challenges included lack of trained manpower, doctors and nurses shortage, and several people unwilling to relocate to Tier II and III locations.

Growing numbers

With the help of VS Mehta, Dharminder reached out to their joint networks to have specialists to work for the hospital.

Dharminder says Paras Healthcare currently provides specialised medical care to over 350,000 patients each year. “We perform more than 1,000 complex neurosurgeries, which is at par with well-established governmental hospitals,” he says.

The hospital claims it treats over 10,000 cardiac patients, and performs more than 2,600 cardiac surgeries and catherisation lab interventions such as angioplasty and pacemaker implantations each year.

The hospital also performs more than 30,000 dialysis procedures and 650 joint replacement surgeries annually.

 “Paras Hospitals Patna is the first hospital in Bihar to offer comprehensive cancer care services - LINAC, radiotherapy, medical oncology, surgical oncology along with brachytherapy. Paras Patna is also the first to provide PET CT facility in Bihar and Jharkhand. Other achievements include first in the state to provide bone marrow transplantation, kidney transplantation and aphaeresis technology,” says Dharminder

Mother and child care

The company has also started Paras Bliss, a chain of mother and child care centres. Each facility provides specialised maternity, gynaecology, paediatric and neonatology care along with foetal medicine.

“As of now, we have Paras Bliss in Gurgaon, New Delhi and Panchkula. We shall soon be commissioning another one in Noida,” adds Dharminder.

Over the last 10 years, the hospital chain has grown from a single hospital to seven. “We have more than 150 specialist doctors, 200 support doctors, more than 2,000 nurses and paramedical staff along with more than 1,000 support and administration staff,” he says.

Healthcare funding

This July, Paras Healthcare raised $42 million (Rs 275 crore) through an affiliate of private equity firm Creador III LP. The fund will primarily be used for expansion and growth across different regions.

In the healthcare space, Bengaluru-based ObgGyn hospital chain Cloudnine raised Rs 400 crore ($74 million) from India Value Fund Advisors for a minority stake in December 2015. It was the third round of investment made in the hospital chain. Cloudnine had earlier raised $16 million by Sequoia India and existing investors Matrix Partners India.

Dharminder says he envisions Paras Healthcare to be a strong contributor of the changing landscape of the healthcare ecosystem in North India.

Indian healthcare space

In 2013-14, estimated healthcare expenditure in India was $96.3 billion, making up nearly five percent of the GDP. With around 12 percent growth rate, this number is expected to cross $195 billion in the next three years. Healthcare, in fact, is one of the largest sectors in the Indian economy, contributing both to revenue and employment.

However, reports suggest India has only 0.6 doctors per 1,000 people. Additionally, many believe technology in the medical devices segment.

The report also says India needs close to 700,000 additional beds over the next six years, bringing in an investment opportunity of close to $30 billion.

The Government of India is also set to launch a universal healthcare plan to offer benefits to a sixth of the world's population at an estimated cost of Rs 1.6 trillion ($23.72 billion) over the next four years.

Speaking on Paras Healthcare’s future plans, Dharminder says,

“Our focus is in areas beyond 50 kms of the borders of the metropolitan cities. Five years from now, Paras Healthcare projects to have a bed strength of 1,500. This year we expect to have the group revenue cross Rs 400 crore, and that should become Rs 1000 crores to Rs 1200 crores within the next five years with additional beds, services and hospitals being.”

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